Yanni Hufnagel is a shining example of the varied backgrounds and personalities you can find in the world of entrepreneurship. Hufnagel coached college basketball for 10 years, serving as an assistant coach for the California Golden Bears, the Harvard Crimson, the Nevada Wolf Pack, and the Vanderbilt Commodores, before starting his new career as Founder and CEO of the beverage company Lemon Perfect. Lemon Perfect is known for its delicious and hydrating flavored lemon water drinks. Hufnagel was inspired to start Lemon Perfect after having followed meal plans found in a book called The Ketogenic Diet that called for starting every day by drinking organic lemon water. The company would not have reached its current heights of success without the inspired leadership of Yanni Hufnagel. Here are five essential leadership principles he has used as head of the company.
Passion and Resilience
Hufnagel acknowledges that no business succeeds unless its founder is passionate enough about the company. The right business idea ensures that an entrepreneur is willing to do the extra work to make it succeed, despite countless challenges that may hinder their efforts. Hufnagel said, “Strong leadership requires that you lead with conviction, and the foundation for that skill is product-founder fit. You must believe in and be believable in your enthusiasm for the product you’re selling.”
Embracing Change and Adaptation
If you have spent any time in the business world, you have likely seen the consequences when companies refuse to change and innovate. If your audience is not responding to a product, then it is a good time to research and innovate solutions that will catch your customers’ attention. In the case of Yanni Hufnagel and Lemon Perfect, you can see this principle on display with their drinks’ nutritional content and flavor lineup. Lemon Perfect contains zero sugar and only 5 calories and is available in the following flavors: Original Lemon, Dragon Fruit Mango, Peach Raspberry, Strawberry Passion Fruit, Blueberry, Coconut, and Watermelon.
Take Advantage of Collaboration
No company succeeds solely on account of the actions of a single person. At Lemon Perfect, Yanni Hufnagel has allowed teams to flourish by giving employees the chance to share their ideas and impact the company’s overall plans for the future. Through a mix of giving teams a significant voice and holding them accountable for meeting their own high performance standards, Hufnagel has cultivated a company culture that drives growth by fostering collaboration.
Spend Some Time in the Trenches
Leaders who are disconnected from their employees are often unaware of the many challenges and needs they encounter. This is why it is important for leaders to spend time in the trenches with the people who bring their ideas to life. Hufnagel explains, “Leaders set the strategic vision for their business, and there’s no better way to try to understand where the business is and where it should go in the future than to spend time on the ground in the trenches. Leaders must spend time in the trade with and listen to their sales teams to be best informed to make decisions and best equipped to think strategically.”
Pay Close Attention to Your Customers
It goes without saying that customer response determines whether your company succeeds or fails, so it is important to listen to customer feedback—or your business is less likely to survive. Having good research and marketing divisions is crucial for achieving success with your customers.